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"Bangkok: Dangerous"

Directed by The Pang Brothers.
Written by The Pang Brothers.
Starring Pawalit Mongkolpisit.
Release Year:  1999 
Review Date:  10/21/01


I was going to catch one of the higher profile movies that came out this weekend first, but then I decided I would go "artsy" and see a foreign film.  As many of you know, most of the foreign films I see are either Spanish or of some Asian descent, so "Bangkok: Dangerous" fit the bill.

I am writing this review knowing that this film is not available in all markets, so sit back and relax, cause you might learn something!  This film came out last year abroad and was released here just now, but you can see why it was brought here based on the strength of the stylistic direction of two men who are simply credited as "The Pang Brothers."  (One of the producers was credited as "Uncle", leading me to believe that I need to go ahead and change my name to "Lucious Stone" before somebody else takes it!)  The film follows the movements of a deaf mute hitman named Kong that, along with his partner Joe, carries out periodical hits on businessmen, media executives, politicians, you name it.  As you can imagine, the hitmen get set up and sold out, so after some unfortunate double-crosses, revenge is on the minds of the "good" guys as they try to figure out who wants them dead.

The plot is simple, I admit it.  But, the way the script deals with the life of Kong is the most interesting part of the film.  How does a deaf mute hitman live his lifestyle if he can't hear and he can't speak?  Three-fourths of the film deals with this aspect and it is interesting to see how he pursues a relationship with a pharmacist named Fon and works within some strict workplace parameters like gunfire from behind.  Sure, the film is way too violent—knives are used in vicious ways in this film—and only passing mention is made of how Kong has affected the families of the victims he has wiped out in his line of business.

However, "Bangkok: Dangerous" seems to aspire beyond the traditional hitman film and hits on levels that only films as good as "The Professional" have in the past—showing us some of the inner feelings of the guy doing the crimes and also delivering some kickass action in short bursts throughout the movie.  If you aren't too squeamish and you can find this film, check it out—pretty interesting stuff, and further proof that this year at the movies won't be a total loss.

Rating:  $8.25 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09